Presumed rebels of the ELN are using plastic weapons to rob or intimidate civilians in the southwest of Colombia, a local army commander said Monday.
According to the armed forces, they found plastic weapons near to where alleged members of the ELN had robbed or intimidated travelers passing improvised guerrilla checkpoints.
The fake arms bust was carried out on the border of the southwestern Huila and Cauca departments, where locals had complained about ongoing robberies on the road connecting the city of Popayan with the village of La Plata.
“There were clear allegations from four families that have been robbed in this sector by what appear to be ELN guerrillas,” Colonel Henry Piraquive told newscast Noticias Uno.
The army commander said he consequently ordered an operation in order to help the locals and prevent rebel attacks in this area. As counterinsurgency units were installed at the site they found that the alleged guerrilla’s weapons were “plastic rifles usually sold in shops.”
According to Colombian army and conflict monitor NGO statistics, the ELN is not active in the area where the plastic guns were found.
Location of the alleged rebel robberies
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